Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy
I once visited a mission in southern Europe. I arrived on the day a new
missionary was preparing to return home at his own insistence. He had his ticket
to leave the next day.
We sat together in the mission president’s home. The
missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of
moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn
a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I
don’t even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and
forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”
I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I’m
sympathetic to much of what you’ve said, but I must correct you on one thing:
you do know God loves you. You know He does.”
As I said those words to him,
the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began
to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I
do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved
him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to
be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission.
Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing
impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her
parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and
her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.
when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a
wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.
Although Hadley had
learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her
louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.
mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that “Heavenly Father makes all of
His children different.” “OK,” Hadley replied.
Then, unexpectedly, Hadley
turned to the little boy and said, “Did you know that when Heavenly Father made
me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and
that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will
get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right.”
Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little
child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for
such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent,
come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.
D2 is in Kindergarten. Her new little best friend just sent her an
invitation to her birthday party- on a Sunday. (this is her first such invitation) After our talk about how we didn't go to birthday parties on Sundays, that Sundays were for church, etc., she said, "maybe that Sunday will be General Conference again!"
DH was out of town this past weekend, and I foolishly, took all four kids to JoAnn fabrics. We were picking out yarn for scarves, and before long, I was regretting the trip.
When we got into the car, I asked,
"OK- so who was "good" in the store? "
D1 said, "I was good!"
D2 added, "I was good!"
(this was true- they were good.)
S1 (3 years old) followed with the same tone of voice as his sisters, "I was bad!"
(true, true, all true.)
I just love how children tell the truth!